The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Unemployment up among students and young adults

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) released data Friday putting the unemployment rate for the state at 10.6 percent for January, an increase from 9.9 percent in December.

‘These are unprecedented numbers,’ said Juan Millan, a labor market consultant with EDD, who added that this is the highest unemployment rate in California in 14 years.
Collectively, the state’s unemployed struggle to find work but statistics show the unemployment rate for adults ages 20 to 34 higher than other age groups.

The Current Population Survey conducted by the Census Bureau for 2008 showed a 10.2 percent unemployment rate among 20 to 24-year-olds and a 5.8 percent rate among 25 to 34-year-olds. Unemployment rates were only higher in the 16 to 19-year-old age bracket at 18.7 percent.

Seeking to address why unemployment is higher in young adults, Daniel Blake, an economics professor and Director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center, said it comes down to experience.

‘The reason they’re (young adults) unemployed longer than other people, say a person in their mid-40s, in the economy is a person in their mid-40s has a career,’ said Blake. ‘They have a record, resume and experience.’

Blake went on to say that a person coming out of college or high school isn’t sure about what they want to do. This could leave someone aiding them in their job search or a possible employer with the task of guessing and an extended time searching for work.

‘The job counselor is left with, ‘I don’t really know what this person’s talents are’,’ he said. ‘The person that hires them doesn’t know what their talents are and so it is this uncertainty and groping around in the market that causes this time to be longer.’

Blake added that experience remains important regardless of whether the job seeker applies for a minimum wage or full-time job.

‘They know they’ve got 30 (applicants) that by their standards are qualified,’ Blake said when referring to employers deciding who to interview. ‘How do they eliminate 20 of them from the interviewing process? One way is clearly by experience.’

Urban planning major Audel Contreras said he has noticed his friends struggling to get employed but hasn’t had the same issue. He currently works for Starbucks Coffee Company and holds a student assistant position at the University Student Union.

‘I don’t know,’ said Contreras, 20, when talking about why he’s been successful in the labor market. ‘I like to spend money, for that I have to have money so that always keeps me going.’

‘I’ve been working since I was 15-and-a-half,’ he added. ‘There’s never been a time since then that I’ve been unemployed.’

The largest projected growth will be in education and health services from now to 2016, said Millan, with a job increase of 116, 300. A close second is trade, transportation and utility services followed by business services.

Millan said the projected growth in these areas is due to an increase in population size and an aging population.

As the population of California ages, more positions in health services become available. As the population size increases, demand in trade and business swells.

‘During this time we continue to be a consumer society,’ said Millan, explaining that as long as people continue to buy trade and transportation services will thrive.

He also said the majority of businesses in Los Angeles County are small businesses. This would explain the need for business services such as architecture, legal counsel, accounting and management.

As young adults enter the workforce, Contreras, aware of what they may be facing in the current job market, shared some advice.

‘Go online. Keep trying. Don’t give up. It’s easy to find a job if you actually try and put in the time and effort,’ he said.

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